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Court: Facebook is not allowed to simply delete racist comments

Court: Facebook is not allowed to simply delete racist comments

The German Federal Court of Justice ruled against the social network after two users filed a lawsuit. Facebook has temporarily banned their accounts for racist comments.

The removal of so-called hate speech by the social network Facebook is illegal according to a ruling by the German Federal Court of Justice (BGH) based on the current terms and conditions. Rules for deleting user contributions and banning accounts in the event of “ineffective” violations, III. Civil Senate on Thursday.

The terms and conditions did not take into account the fact that users must be informed at least afterwards of the deletion of a contribution and that they must be informed in advance of the intended account ban and must be given the opportunity to express their opinion. Since April 2018, the social network has been banning and deleting so-called hate speech and an account ban for comments.

Facebook needs to recover posts

In the specific case, two users filed a lawsuit on Facebook, and his comments against immigrants labeled as racist have been deleted. In addition, their accounts were frozen for thirty-three days in a row. The account holders believe Facebook’s actions violate their basic right to freedom of expression. Now the world’s largest internet network must restore posts and must refrain from banning user accounts and deleting posts when they are posted again.

At an oral hearing a week ago, Judge Ulrich Hermann announced that the deletion would likely be legal. “According to the Senate’s initial opinion, Facebook has the right to delete even if there is no criminal offense,” he said at the time.

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